May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, an important annual opportunity to revisit the basics of this autoimmune disease that affects one in 133 people in the United States. As a gluten-free blogger, I am all too aware that despite the advancement of knowledge and awareness about celiac in recent years, there is still so far to go, as this disease is still often misunderstood or worst of all: made fun of.
The truth is that celiac is very real, and very serious. There's only one known treatment that is effective: eating a strict and consistent gluten-free diet. Where is that gluten found? The grains wheat, rye, and barley.
For those who have been diagnosed with celiac, knowledge is power, because with lifestyle modifications, you can establish a "new normal," albeit one where you are far more intimately acquainted with your food. One of the challenges of celiac however, is that its symptoms are so chameleon-like that they are often misunderstood. According to Beyond Celiac, a leading advocacy organization, it's estimated that 83% of celiac cases are undiagnosed, which translates to thousands who are at risk for complications of the disease: malnourishment, anemia, thyroid disease, and countless stomach-related issues.